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Jeremy Scahill Tears Apart Corporate Media's 'Atrocious' Syria Coverage.

By Andrea Germanos, Staff Writer CommonDreams.org | Last updated: Apr 12, 2017 - 9:27:27 AM

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The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile while conducting naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill offered scathing criticism of corporate media’s coverage of the cruise missile strike President Donald Trump ordered in early April on Syria.

Speaking on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” to host Brian Stelter, The Intercept co-founder and Dirty Wars author, took particular aim at that network’s Fareed Zakaria and MSNBC’s Brian Williams.

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Post strike areas of Shayrat Airfield, Syria, following U.S. Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strikes, April 7.

“The media coverage has been atrocious, particularly—and this is across the board on every network—particularly when the strike is happening. It’s like they’re in awe of the cruise missiles,” Scahill said April 9.

Indeed, media critics pounced on the comments by Zakaria—who called it Trump’s “big moment”—and Williams—who called the strikes “beautiful” —as examples of the “classic pundit attitude toward presidential violence.”

Referring to Zakaria, Scahill said “if that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” And Brian Williams, he said, “seemed to be in true love with the cruise missile strike, in a despicable way invoking Leonard Cohen’s name.” Pressed by Stelter if Zakaria’s comments were taken out of context, Scahill said, “Fareed Zakaria was also a major cheerleader for the Iraq War.”

Scahill also criticized corporate media for elevating the voices of retired military who may now be personally profiting from continued U.S. warfare.

“CNN needs to immediate withdraw all retired generals and colonels from its airways,” Scahill said.

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President Donald Trump receives a briefing on a military strike on Syria from his National Security team in a secured location at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida., April 6.

“I think that the American people deserve to know what was the private sector record of these individuals when it came to the weapons industry or profiting in the private sector off of the proliferation of U.S. wars that happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere. There is not the kind of transparency that is required of a truly democratic press when you’re not revealing the extent to which these people have benefited in the private sector from these wars,” he said.

He also noted that “the United States has been engaged militarily in Syria for several years now, both in the form of Special Operations forces and, increasingly, conventional ‘boots on the ground,’ but also just scorched-earth bombing, particularly since Trump took office.”

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather also weighed in the issue of media coverage of the strikes, writing on his personal Facebook page: “The role of the press is to ask hard questions.”

“The number of members of the press who have lauded the actions last night as ‘presidential’ is concerning. War must never be considered a public relations operation. It is not a way for an Administration to gain a narrative. It is a step into a dangerous unknown and its full impact is impossible to predict, especially in the immediate wake of the first strike,” he wrote.

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